Baby goes to daddy and the truth about waterproof wallpaper

I haven’t written many new posts for my ‘baby goes to daddy’ series recently. This is not because baby hasn’t been going to daddy because believe me, he has, a lot! It is because since I moved into my new flat I’ve kind of stopped using this time to engage in cultural pursuits like the theatre, the cinema, lectures, or just going out drinking with my friends. Okay, so drinking with my friends isn’t a cultural pursuit but it isn’t something that I like to do with a one year old in tow.   I didn’t include art galleries in this list because baby is very well acquainted with art galleries, particularly the Tate. In fact he was nearly born in the Tate Modern in London, but that’s another story for another day. Perhaps.

I had a very productive day on Sunday. First of all, I made three cushion covers. I bought this fantastic material from IKEA (well I think it is fantastic. Readers might not agree). IKEA does a great selection and this one was only £4 per metre –  bargain or what? I ‘splashed out’ and bought two metres. This will make the blind in the toilet as well.

waterproof wallpaper

My home made cushion cover. I am so proud of myself.

I bought my flat from a lovely old lady in her mid-80s. She has gone to live in Devon to be near to her family. She took very good care of this flat. It was perfectly clean and beautifully wallpapered. The only problem is that her wallpaper was a kind of pearlescent dark cream. The kitchen has avocado skin coloured worktops (no joke! – I have seen many an avocado bath but an avocado work top was new for me.) 

Replacing the kitchen and bathroom is going to be a big and expensive job, so I have been starting on the wallpaper.  So far, I have done baby’s bedroom (always top priority), the bathroom (I stripped the wallpaper, I haven’t replaced the tiles, bath and sink – that’s for the 3 year plan when hopefully I will be a bit richer…perhaps) and I have just, on sunday, finished stripping the wallpaper from the toilet.

Both the bathroom and toilet walls were covered in waterproof wallpaper. Now I don’t know whether any of you have ever stripped waterproof paper.  Well, let me tell you, it is horrendous.  Waterproof wallpaper is designed to be washed down, to be steamed up, to be absolutely soaked and still remain beautifully and steadfastly in position.  Not a wrinkle.   Unfortunately this renders the industrial wallpaper stripper bought from Screwfix for £25 totally useless.  Using the wallpaper stripper will make you sweat and that is about it. 

Waterproof wallpaper has to be stripped inch by inch, centimetre by centimetre, and with brute force and determination.  The bathroom wallpaper had a kind of waterproof foam layer underneath a kind of plastic topping.  You are going to have to use your imagination because I really don’t know how best to explain this.  The only way to get the bathroom wallpaper off was to use a blade and cut through the plastic layer and the foam and slice the underside.  The undercoat, and yes there was also an undercoat, then had to be soaked and stripped off like normal wallpaper. 

So, dear friends, if you are ever thinking of buying a property check whether or not it has waterproof wallpaper in any rooms.  Unless you really like the wallpaper, DON’T BUY IT, or if you do, ensure that you get enough money knocked off your purchase price that you can pay someone to strip the damn waterproof wallpaper for you.  Trust me.  I think this is one of my life lessons.

So, I finally finished stripping the wallpaper and I then went into town to buy some paint.  I bought  Farrow and Ball, Elephant’s breath, also known as grey.  I could have bought grey paint from Wilko at half the price, but after the trials and tribulations spent on stripping the wallpaper I can only be bothered to do one coat, which Farrow and Ball promise is all that is needed.  Wilko paint in the bathroom required three coats.  I have spent enough time in the toilet as it is, and I wasn’t doing things that I like doing in the toilet like reading my book or checking my emails.

waterproof wallpaper

A selection of Farrow and Ball paints. All of them are grey. I went for the middle shade aka Elephant’s breath – obviously!

In the evening, I was free.  Baby was with Daddy overnight, so I went to a comedy night in the local pub.  Well, it was branded as a comedy night but actually it was a guy doing magic tricks.  He was very good, but usually I would call people who do magic tricks magicians rather than comedians.  Anyway, he was good, and a magician and a glass of wine was an excellent way to relax. 

I would like the magician to perform some magic on the decor in my flat, but I have to resign myself to accepting that his specialities as a magician are cards and rope.   Waterproof wallpaper?  Definitely out of scope.


These are all my own thoughts.  This is not a review and I am certainly not writing for IKEA, Farrow and Ball, or indeed Wilko.  Having said that, if any of the above three would like to send me some free paint or indeed some material, I still have the kitchen, the hallway, the lounge and my bedroom to decorate.  


  1. September 15, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    Love this post thank you for sharing your baby goes to daddy post #twinkytuesday
    carol recently posted…Siblings {September}My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      September 15, 2015 / 8:29 pm

      Hi Carol,

      It is a pleasure. Thank you for your comment #twinklytuesday

  2. September 16, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Hi Pen, oh dear, this did make me laugh – glad to see you can joke about this horrendous DIY experience. I love grey paint, am currently debating which shade for our sitting room – am liking Dimpse. I hope Farrow & Ball sends you a nice big vat of Elephant’s Breath! x
    Jess Paterson recently posted…Children’s Art: Chuck or Cherish?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      September 18, 2015 / 9:08 pm

      Hi Jess,

      You cannot beat grey. I am finding it really difficult to chose any colour but grey at the moment. It is such a versatile colour – it’ll go with anything and looks great with lime green (my favourite colour). Thanks for your comment.

  3. September 16, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    Waterproof wallpaper? I’ve done up a few properties in my time and never come across this concept! I have learned somehitng! Goog luck doing the place up. #thetruthabout
    JOhn Adams recently posted…Hugging; #Neverstophugging your childrenMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      September 18, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Dear John,

      I sincerely hope, for your sake, that you never come across waterproof wallpaper first hand. Thanks for your comment.

  4. September 16, 2015 / 7:39 pm

    Waterproof wallpaper sounds like a complete nightmare!! I think if I had been you I would have given it up and hired a professional! Loving the ‘elephant’s breath’! Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout X
    thenthefunbegan recently posted…How to teach your kids the value of moneyMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      September 18, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Can’t beat Elephant’s Breath. Thanks for your comment.

    • thesingleswan
      September 18, 2015 / 9:03 pm

      Hi Debbie, It’s a pleasure. THank you for hosting #AnythingGoes as always.

  5. September 20, 2015 / 8:53 pm

    Oh this did make me chuckle a bit. Who knew that about waterproof wallpaper? Thanks for filling us in! I adore your ‘disclaimer’ at the end as well! Glad you got the wallpaper issue sorted in the end. You sure deserved a wee drink affter that! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…Why I’m so weepy!My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      September 24, 2015 / 7:58 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      thank you for your comment. #TwinklyTuesday

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